I refuse to stop using my cell phone around my kids

Yes, I use my cell phone when I’m spending time with my children. #sorrynotsorry

I have read lots of articles and anecdotes about smart phone addictions: how our phones have become an extension of ourselves, how we are ignoring our kids because of it, how “mommy loves her phone more than me.”

My children know how much I love them, and that they are not second rate to a device.  Yes, sometimes they have to wait a few seconds for me to look at their 12th new Lego design (learning a little patience is never a bad thing). But, I will not stop using my phone around them; this is what I will continue to do:

I will continue to take photos of my children doing whatever they are doing, because tomorrow when I’m at work and my heart is longing for their hugs, I will browse through the photos and my heart will feel full again.

I will continue to check my email, because like it or not, sometimes work does come home. Even a quick email back of “I see your email, and I’ll get you the answer in the morning” can help someone enjoy their family that night.

I will continue to watch for updates on a friend’s recovery as I cheer along him and his family.  Learning about his specific prayer requests that day can help guide my children’s prayers that night.

I will keep checking instagram to see how an internet stranger’s daughter is doing through her chemo treatments, because although I cannot help directly, I can send love through a like.

I will continue to text a family member who is looking for help with a new baby.  I can send answers, support, and love to someone struggling.

I will watch for photos of my sweet niece who lives much too far away.  As much as a photo of my own children fills my heart, so does her pudgy smiley face.

I will continue to read a blog related to a stage of my child’s life, because sometimes people who have been through it before, just know more that I do now.

I will continue to use my phone when I’m with my children to keep in touch with my village. That village provides the foundation on which I stand, and I want to teach my children to grow, love on and support their own villages.  This is one way I can show them how to do that.

Loving Two

In two days, my sweet little Lincoln will turn 2 years old!  I cannot believe how exciting and wonderful these past two years have been, or how (stereotypically) fast they have flown by!  Link is his own little man completely.  He has opinions and moods, and is so curious.  He puts together many, many word sentences and asks wise questions.  He loves to help do dishes and laundry, and gets so excited to watch his daddy mow and water the lawn.  Link narrates our day and sings songs, and asks me to tell him all about my day on our way home from school.  He “uh-huhs” like he is actually interested in my workday.  I am so incredibly proud of him.

I have loved every second of being the mom to a son.  I am so excited to see where our relationship goes each day and year.  I cannot imagine anything as wonderful as mothering a son.

Except, mothering a daughter.

I cannot believe that in a few weeks here, I will have a daughter.  I will have a sweet little girl who I will teach so many exciting things that only a mom can.  I will watch my husband have a daddy’s little girl.  Watch our parents grandparent a girl.  I was nervous at first because I know how challenging teenage girls can be, but just imagine – I have 12 years to raise her and love her, and pray for her until we hit that stage.  Then I have countless days more to continue raising, loving and praying.

I do not understand yet how I can love a second child when I love Lincoln so incredibly much.  But I do know that because I have so much love for him, I am meant to love this little girl so incredibly much also.  I am so excited to welcome our daughter into our family and I cannot wait to meet her!

Being pregnant again

This week I am 12 weeks pregnant with Baby Gehring #2. Many people ask me if this was planned. My work-around answer is, “Well, we know how these things happen.” The truth is not exactly, we didn’t plan to get pregnant in December and have a baby late August/September. But I am so incredibly blessed and excited to be pregnant again.

I have been extremely fortunate to have this be my second pregnancy and, God willing, will be my second healthy baby.  I feel unworthy.  I felt unworthy with Link too.  I have been surrounded by losses over the last few years – too many friends and family members suffering lost pregnancies and lost babies.  It isn’t fair to them.  And I ask God, while thanking Him, why am I so blessed?

I may never know.  What I can do though, is pray and cry for those hurting, and praise and spread joy for my blessings.  I will work my darndest to give Link and our future children a God filled life.  I want them to know Jesus, to love Him, and to go to Him in times of need.  I am okay if my kids ask questions, if they experience doubts, if they, like me, ask “why is it working out ok for me, or why isn’t it?” I will encourage those things.  And all along I will work to serve others in any way God asks of me.

While pregnant, I have an internal law that I try to live by.  I will occasionally share my woes and discomforts. I will state that it is very hot being pregnant, or that I feel sick.  I will not, however, wish any of it away, or complain about what is going on.  The person growing in me is an incredible miracle. By the grace of God, I am growing a tiny human! It is the most miraculous thing I have ever experienced, and to wish it was out, to wish to not be pregnant, to complain about the pain it’s causing me, is just selfish.  So while we are called not to judge, I will wish that others would not complain.  I will pray for your pregnancy woes and aches, but I will not agree with you when you wish the pregnancy over or done.  I will, if you’d like, remind you that you are growing a human, a child that God trusted to you.  I will tell you again and again, if it helps you, that there is a watermelon-sized miracle! kicking you in your ribs.

While there are so many trials and troubles in this world, and so many questions to ask, I am going to live joyfully, while God does HIS WORK inside of me.

Trusting God and trusting myself

I have been having a lot of anxiety lately related to being Link’s mom.  I have been worried about tragedies.  Tragedies that could happen to us.  I have been drowning in tears and fears.  I have not been able to understand how I am supposed to trust God with Link – that He will protect him from tragedy.

This morning I woke up, worked out with my trainer, and walked to my office and decided that today I was going to start trusting God.  It was amazing the rush of excitement and relief that went through me at that moment.  Totally the Holy Spirit.

I know that this will be a continuous struggle for me – it always has.  God and I don’t always have the same idea of what is best for me.  He knows how things work themselves out, and how what happens can be used to glorify Him – I do not.  At least not right away.

So as we embark on the month of thanksgiving, and on this Halloween day, I am ending my month of fears.  I am choosing to trust God with my beautiful, wonderful little miracle that God trusted me with.

The part of me I’m missing

Justin and I were looking back at our old blogs the other day, reminiscing. I realized that there is a big part of me that is missing since I had Link (possibly since before).  I’m missing my friends.

I never was one to go out and “party” per say, but I did spend many afternoons and evenings with friends, especially in the summer.  While we have all grown into greater selves than we were back then, I miss that part.  Don’t get me wrong – the best thing in the entire world to happen to me is Lincoln.  Overall, I have never been happier.

My sister, my sister in law, and my best friend all live in different states.  When I just need someone to talk to, someone to run to the store with, or someone to sit down for a margarita with, I no longer have anyone to call.

There is mom-Amber, and work-Amber, and wife-Amber, but there is no longer friend-Amber.  I would like that to change.

I do see changing this to be a challenge though.  First off, I work almost full time, have an internship, have grad school classes, and still need to find time to be a mom to my amazing 10 month old, a wife to my wonderful husband, and a child of God (which should come before everything else, but rarely does).  Finding time to be social among that schedule is next to impossible.  Second of all, I need someone to watch Link if I’m going to be social.  Justin won’t always appreciate that.  One solution would be to find more mom-friends that we could arrange play dates, and then “ignore” our children to socialize.  Another is to just be happy being.

There is no reason to feel sorry for me. I’m happier  than I have ever been.  Just something I realized today that I am missing.

The Irrational Thoughts of a New Mom

Someday I will die.  That is inevitable.  I have never been afraid per say of dying, I just didn’t want it to happen yet.  Now that I have Lincoln, I think I’m going to die all of the time.  Around every corner I see a new danger.  One of my biggest fears right now is that I will leave Lincoln alone in this world.  Of course he would not be alone – he would have a wonderful father and amazing grandparents to care for him.  That doesn’t make it better.  The key thing for me to do now is trust in God.

Trust in God? That has been one of the biggest challenges I have faced throughout my entire life.  People whom I love have died, gotten sick, had horrible things happen to them.  Despite this, I am told to follow Him.  Proverbs says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”  Isaiah says “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid.”  We read in Psalms “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God… I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?”  There are countless more examples of how the Bible tells us to trust in God.

So instead of looking at all of the ways that I feel God has “let me down” I instead will look at the proof God has given to trust in Him.  That proof for me is Lincoln.  I waited (im)patiently for our amazing Lord to gift me with one of His children.  I (im)patiently trusted that someday it would be my turn.  I had a beautiful and successful first pregnancy.  We had a beautiful and scary birth.  I watched my sweet boy taken away from me not breathing, but all along trusted (without any sort of understanding) that God would carry Lincoln through.  I now have a strong, healthy, amazing child that shows the miracles God performs.  He did this for me.  Now it’s time that I trust Him with all that I am.